Toyota and hot hatches really, really don’t go together. The GR Yaris very notably excepted, of course. Prior to that, it’s hard to think of any high points. The Corolla T Sport never lived up to the potential of its engine, fast Yarises (Yari?) Have been forgettable – and well, what else is there? The Aygo Crazy? The Corolla GTI-16 of 30 years ago? The Auris T180 diesel?
So Toyota doesn’t have a rich heritage to draw upon for a new hot hatch. But that didn’t hold the GR Yaris back – unburdened by tradition might have helped, in fact – and Toyota will be hoping for similar success with the GR Corolla. After what feels like years of speculation, this video is the closest to confirmation we’ve had. You’ll have to wait until the very end of this ‘Focus Group’ adfor the GR86, when a flying V of GR models is proposed, but it’s undoubtedly a Corolla hidden in the dark. That Toyota are further teasing it in the comments means there’s no guessing any longer. This doesn’t sound like any other Corolla, either, burbling into life before the video ends. It sounds like a four-cylinder rather than a three (as in the Yaris) from this very brief listen. There’s also a blink-and-it’s-gone look at the front from 3:29, but there’s little to tell from that.
No details have yet been released; such is the power of the GR brand now that Toyota is aware a new car can just be teased and interest will be there. Given the standard Corolla rivals cars like the Golf and Civic, we’d reckon on a hot hatch tackling the Type R and GTI head on. So think 300hp or so, some clever differentials (perhaps on both axles) to distribute the power, and hopefully a manual gearbox given how the Yaris was received. Let’s see.
The big announcement for now, of course, is that the GR Corolla is happening, and that must be good news given what Gazoo Racing has produced so far. For the moment, we’ll have to enjoy a GR86 and Formula D Supras skidding around in a Tokyo Drift homage; but expect much, much more about the next GR hot hatch in the coming months. For the first time ever, let’s get excited about a Corolla …